Using the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer, better known as NICER, NASA has created an image showing what the night sky would look like to us if we could see X-Rays.
In case you aren’t aware, NICER is a payload on the ISS which has a primary goal of tracking cosmic sources as it orbits the earth every 93 minutes. The scientists keep the detectors of NICER awake after the sunset which resulted in the stunning image.
The image, posted on the official website of NASA, is result of NICER’s first 22 months on the ISS. Each arc of the image traces X-Rays during nighttime. Talking about the image, Keith Gendreu said, “Even with minimal processing, this image reveals the Cygnus Loop, a supernova remnant about 90 light-years across and thought to be 5,000 to 8,000 years old. We’re gradually building up a new X-ray image of the whole sky, and it’s possible NICER’s nighttime sweeps will uncover previously unknown sources.”
NASA expects that the mission will help scientists to determine the size of the neutron start and pulsars in the coming years.